Weekend Sneak Peek

It took all my energy to write up my YA Book Club post of JUST ONE DAY for Tuesday since I was at the absolutely epic wedding of one of my BFFs. Alz was a guest too, so both of us are totally exhausted - from fun!

In any case, the wedding deserves its own post because it was amazing and probably the best party I have ever been too. The weather was perfect, the venue and decorations gorgeous, the food scrumptious, and there were even some celebrity sightings! I also danced a hole into my shoe. Literally. (You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.)

For now, here's a few pictures from the pit stop we took on the way to the wedding. Cabazon Dinosaurs, the largest dinos in the world (or something)!

The Sister is a master at imitating things. Also, you can climb
up into the T-Rex's mouth and peer down at everyone.
I am but an amateur compared to her.

There's a gift shop inside this apatosaurus.
And a sneak of wedding-related stuff:

Bridesmaid dresses & bride's reception dress.

The gold-confetti-strewn dance floor & the newlyweds.
We're off for the weekend to recover from last weekend's festivities! Expect actual wedding pictures next week!

P.S. We did finally get our hands on JT's 20/20 Experience, and it has not disappointed. I love the track "Tunnel Vision" and "Blue Ocean Floor" (which my sister says she really likes but admittedly that's possibly because it sounds like/is produced like the hipster music she's into now). I'm also still totally obsessed with this song:



Happy to see you all this lovely Tuesday. It's actually one of my BFFs birthday, so I'm going to give her a quick shout-out now. Happy birthday, Luce! Glad to have pulled bridesmaid duties with you this weekend. :)

For those of you who don't know, every few months, the awesome Tracey Neithercott hosts a YA Book Club. It's sort of a blog hop in that we all get a month to read the decided-upon book, and then everyone posts reviews and/or discusses the book on the set date and we all link up. You can find out more by clicking the button in the sidebar or the link above.

Anyway, I almost always miss it because I don't get to the book early enough, but this time, I was in luck. I had just finished Gayle Forman's JUST ONE DAY when it was picked for Book Club this month. So yay!

Without further ado, here's my review of the book. The short review: I loved it.

JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman

Emotional Grade: A
Intellectual Grade: 8/9 out of 10

Blurb (from goodreads): When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Review: Just One Day was the book I expected it to be and then some. Gayle Forman gives her main character Allyson (and by extension, her readers) a meet-cute on the train followed by a breathless, wanderlust-inducing day in Paris. Sounds like the perfect opener for a romantic comedy, right? Despite what the book blurb may suggest, Just One Day isn’t a romantic comedy and the romance aspect of it actually doesn’t even cover that much page time. Instead, this book is about Allyson’s existential crisis, her coming of age. It has a lot more substance than its kind of cutesy first impression would suggest.

I went into this book with relatively high expectations. I had read Gayle Forman's previous book If I Stay and liked it very much, and when the praise started pouring in for Just One Day, I wasn't surprised. So it was with great anticipation that I went into this story, and it not only held up under the hype, it also really lived up to it.

As book lovers, we all know the many reasons people fall in love with books and reading. The story or characters are very emotionally resonant and moving, or maybe they're not very deep but they're extremely entertaining or effective as a form of escapism. But the books that truly affect a reader are the ones that strike deeply at a truth, that connect on multiple levels, the ones that may not always be easy to read. I have a few books that do this for me, and while I don't think Just One Day is going to be my favorite book ever, I think it is one of the most personally resonant books I've read.

For anyone who has read a Gayle Forman book, you already know that she's a wonderful writer. I don't have to go into how her prose is always un-flowery yet at times lyrical, how she can paint a vivid picture with the most concise amount of words. I don't have to explain that her writing is both accessible and truthful, and I don't have to tell you that her character journeys are nuanced and real.

The thing that made this book for me was the main character Allyson's personal growth. Her eyes are opened to so many things in the course of the year that this book spans. There's the traveling and the whirlwind summer romance, yes, but there's also a lot of self-assessment, an awakening of her own desires and a realization that those things might be separate to what her parents and friends expect of her. It was this journey, this often difficult and uncomfortable journey that really struck a cord with me - not so much the swoony parts in Paris with Willem, though I did enjoy those parts. And I love how Willem helps Allyson see her potential but that Allyson is the one who ultimately helps herself. Willem is the catalyst but not the hero; Allyson is her own.

Lucky enough to go to Paris in 2005 & snap this pic.
Celebrated my birthday in this city of romance.
The thing with Allyson is that she is a sheltered girl who starts to rebel against being that sheltered girl, but that kind of rebellion is never as easy as it seems. The desire to change is the first step, but actually changing is hard, and Allyson's experience reflects that. She's actually a character who is not always like-able, and I won't lie, I was frustrated with her for big chunks of the book. But at the same time I knew exactly what she was feeling and why she was stuck in a rut because I've been there (and sometimes I think I'm still there). I was so surprised by how much I empathized with her and how I was rooting for her to break free even as I was trying to tamp down my annoyance with her.

I don't think I truly understood what people meant when they say that a book made them feel less alone, that it comforted and even saved them, until I read this book because there were so many moments in Just One Day that felt like dilemmas I've had, that expressed emotions I've never found the words for or that I've never been comfortable discussing with others. It really was like finding a friend, and it made me so impressed with Gayle Forman's ability to tap into the psyche of a new adult, to really tease out the insecurity, the complacency, and the desire but fear to become a different version of themselves.

The only negatives I have to say about Just One Day is that it can be a frustrating read, though I think that's intentional. The Shakespeare connection I thought was a little heavy-handed, especially in the beginning, like we were being told too explicitly to connect this bit of Shakespearean wisdom with this bit of Allyson's journey, but it smoothed itself out quickly enough and turned out to be a really beautiful thematic marker for the rest of Allyson's self-discovery. There's a plethora of secondary characters, and while I give Willem's mysteriousness a pass (since that's part of his charm and his role in the story), I felt like some of the secondary characters who are a bigger influence in Allyson's life could have been fleshed out more. There does end up being a big supporting cast, and I like that it adds to this idea of a web of connections, so I don't expect everyone to have a lot of depth, but I did feel like there was something a little shallow about what we got of Dee (though I liked the character a lot) and while Allyson's mom is the forceful parental unit in her life, what about her dad?

I also really didn't like the bordering on stereotypical portrayal of the nice-mean Californian roommate, which ultimately plays into the theme of things-not-being-as-they-seem, so I guess that portrayal was also intentional. But come on! It was pretty bad - nearly as bad as the now super cliche of the high school b*tchy blond cheerleader popular girl who is inexplicably mean towards the main girl character and is also dating the hot guy. (I could be biased on this last point though since I was born and bred in California, and I don't deny there are Californians like that and I get that we might come across a certain way. But I know lots of genuinely nice (not passive aggressive-nice) Californians and we're not all obsessed with our tans!)

These are really just nitpicks though. Overall, it's a wonderful book for character, and like I said, the romantic parts in the beginning are swoony and Paris and later Amsterdam is beautifully brought to life. It'll give you wanderlust for sure, which totally makes me more jealous of my college roommate who now lives in Paris and who has been Euro-hopping on weekends. *SIGH*

Just One Day is also a good argument for the whole "New Adult" genre. It fills that niche of after high school-into-early college, of leaving the comfort and familiarity of home and friends, of the trials and tribulations of having unprecedented independence and really becoming an adult.

I can't wait to read the follow-up Just One Year to see Willem's side of the story!

Be sure to check out what other people have to say about this book too by visiting Tracey's blog for the linky or click the YA Book Club banner at the top of this post!

Q4U: Have you read Just One Day? What did you think? If not, have you read a book that really spoke to your personal experience?


Randomosity on Fridays: Loki's Birthday

Happy Friday, everyone!

First order of business, next week, we will be posting on TUESDAY instead of Wednesday because we will be participating in Tracey's YA Book Club. We'll be talking about the March Book Club pick JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman.

Apologies for the short post, but as I mentioned last time, we're on our way to a wedding. One of good friends is getting hitched and we're off to celebrate!

In the mean time, here's something else we have to celebrate, Loki's 1st birthday! Yesterday, Loki turned 1 year old. In a few more months, the Sister and I will have had him for a year (he was 2 months old when we got him). How time flies and at the same time, I feel like I've had him forever.

Happy Birthday, puppy!

Have a great weekend everyone! See you Tuesday!


Wordless Wednesday: Thwarted!

This post brought to you by two feelings yesterday:

1) Serenity

The Sister tells me Loki promptly destroyed the flower after this pic was taken.
2) Frustration!

Guess this is what happens when you don't drop an album for 7 years...

And who says people don't buy CDs anymore? -__-

We apologize in advance for the simple posts this week. We've got a big wedding this weekend, and as such it's been busy busy. I have much to prepare and way too little time. (Where is that steam iron, and where the heck are my lightsabers?)

Happy Wednesday!

Q4U: Did you manage to get JT's The 20/20 Experience yesterday? Do you plan to? And/or have you listened to it yet? It's been streaming in its entirety on iTunes. (In other news, at least I'll be seeing him in concert this summer, woohoo!)


Book Signing & Loki

Can you believe we're halfway through March already? I've been counting down to the latter part of March for a while because that's when one of my besties is getting married, and it felt like so far away. Now, it's next week and I'm ridic excited! Also, a little bit nervous/stressed but that could be my work-pressures talking.

Anyway, here's a picture update!

1) Last weekend, I made my way down to the South Bay for THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR book signing with Mindee Arnett. This was pretty exciting because I've often squeed with Mindee on twitter about The Raven Boys, Laini Taylor's gorgeous writing, Supernatural's Dean Winchester, and even Walter Farley's The Black Stallion series.

Basically, it was super cool to meet Mindee in Real Life, and I'm super excited to read her book.

2) We took Loki for another hike. He loves the car ride and the water and basically everything, haha.

3) We also gave him a bath, which didn't stop him from rolling around after.

Happy weekend!

P.S. If you missed it, definitely check out Alz's interesting analysis of first lines in YA dystopians/post-apocalyptic books and how it relates to their themes.


On Dystopians and First Lines

The fire of literary analysis!
So I was thinking today about first lines in books and how hooky they sometimes are, though more generally in the YA genre books get slapped with a prologue whose sole function is to be hooky because otherwise hey, what do you know, the prologue was pretty much entirely unnecessary.

Ahem.  Anyway, I grabbed a few books I had lying around and looked at the first lines, and was struck by immediate similarities and recurring themes.  This tickled my rusty literary analysis inclination and the result is today's post.

To narrow things down and keep some perspective, I limited my search to books I've read in the dystopian genre, of which most of the books also fall into the post-apocalyptic genre.  Incarnate slipped in there even though it's not that dystopian, as I recall.

I included the first line of the prologue (if applicable) as well as the first line of the first chapter.  I added statistics because percentages make everything more fun and I was too lazy to try making pie charts.


"When the White Noise went off, we were in the Garden, pulling weeds." (Prologue)
"Grace Somerfield was the first to die." (Chapter 1)
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

"Addie and I were born into the same body, our souls' ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped our very first breath." (Prologue)
"The end-of-school bell blasted everyone from their seats." (Chapter 1)
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

"Once upon a time there was a world..." (Prologue)
"Earth spins." (Chapter 1)
Exodus by Julie Bertagna

"We live the Old Way." (Chapter 1)
Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson

"There was a low droning overhead a week or so after the Detonations; time was hard to track." (Prologue)
"Pressia was lying in the cabinet." (Chapter 1)
Pure by Julianna Baggott

"It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure." (Chapter 1)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver

"Good girls don't walk with boys." (Chapter 1)
Possession by Elana Johnson

"What is a soul, but a consciousness born and born again?" (Prologue-y bit)
"I wasn't reborn." (Chapter 1)
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

"They came in the night." (Prologue)
"I can count the days until summer draws to a close and autumn seeps into the leaves, painting them ginger and scarlet." (Chapter 1)
Crewel by Gennifer Albin

"I wait." (Chapter 1)
Wither by Lauren DeStefano

"They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod 'the Death Shop.'" (Chapter 1)
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

"My mother thinks I'm dead." (Chapter 1)
Legend by Marie Lu

"Lugh got born first." (Chapter 1)
Blood Red Road by Moira Young

"There is one mirror in my house." (Chapter 1)
Divergent by Veronica Roth

"I've been locked up for 264 days." (Chapter 1)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

"A vibration rippled through my body." (Chapter 1)
Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

"Now that I've found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?" (Chapter 1)
Matched by Ally Condie

"Daddy said, 'Let mom go first.'" (Chapter 1)
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

"When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold." (Chapter 1)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Number of books surveyed: 19
Number of prologues: 6 (32%)

Hmm.  Broadly speaking, the immediate themes that leap out are:

Waiting/passage of time - Exodus, Pure, Delirium, Crewel, Wither, Shatter Me, Across the Universe, The Hunger Games (42%)

Life & deathThe Darkest Minds, What's Left of Me, Incarnate, Under the Never Sky, Legend, Blood Red Road (32%)

Family - What's Left of Me, Legend, Blood Red Road, Across the Universe (21%)

Freedom & incarceration - Pure, Under the Never Sky, Shatter Me, Matched (21%)

Social norms - Shadows Cast by Stars, Delirium, Possession (21%)

Some kind of alarm/alert - The Darkest Minds, What's Left of Me (11%)

I honestly thought life & death was going to win out as the most prevalent since first lines about death or unusual birth tend to be pretty hooky, but nope, it was waiting/passage of time.  You might think Across the Universe doesn't fit the category since it's Amy's dad telling her to let her mom get cryogenically frozen first, but it is a crucial moment of waiting--wait for your mom to go first, Amy, and wait to make your choice.  As for The Hunger Games, that's about the passage of time too: Katniss waking up and finding the other side of the bed is cold, implying that someone or something was sleeping beside her before and has long since left.  Which sets up quite a lot about Katniss and how she'll be alone, bereft of the warmth of family, on her way to the cold, cruel Capitol.

What does this say about YA dystopians?  That time is of the essence.  No, seriously.  If you're waiting, it means you're passive in anticipation of action, i.e. you're waiting for something [to happen].  Given that our protagonists are young adults or on the cusp of becoming thereof, doesn't that make sense?  Tweens and teens are always waiting for those grandiose legal age-markers: old enough to get my driver's license, old enough to see R-rated movies, old enough to vote and smoke, old enough to gamble and drink.  There are social age-markers too: When am I old enough to date?  To wear these clothes?  To stay out all night?  To make my own decisions?

In the contemporary genre, that's all fine and dandy!  Normative society is where all this stuff is born anyway and where we see it play out in RL.  In dystopians though, there's an additional flavor of oppression thanks to that Big Brotherly government keeping a watchful eye on and an iron fist around its people.  Teenage rebellion comes to the fore ten times more flashily in dystopians because it's rebellion not just against parental authority, but against the entire freaking government.

(Actually, parental figures tend to be rebels themselves, protecting our protagonists by defying social norms and/or the government.  I'd cite the titles here but as some of them are kind of spoilery, I'll just say there were 4 books or 21%, with an additional 3 books featuring parents that were defiant/protective at first but eventually gave up.)

In general though, the government is Lawful Evil and our protagonists represent Chaotic Good, and the emerging story is our protagonistss journey toward Lawful Good.

So these books begin with waiting and the passage of time, or passivity and showing how things used to be.  This is a representation of our heroes and heroines in a stagnant state until a catalyst occurs that catapults them into action--and the catalyst, be it noted, is 1) always an external force and 2) usually the government which 3) is always evil.  In Exodus, the rising oceans threaten to swamp Mara's little island; in Pure, Pressia flees the militia that is coming to draft and/or kill her; in Delirium, the government is going to "cure" Lena of love; in Crewel, the government plucks Adelice from her home to work for the Spinsters; in Wither, Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride; in Shatter Me, the government locks Juliette up and a dictator later drafts her; in Across the Universe, Amy is unfrozen early from cryogenic stasis; in The Hunger Games, Katniss must participate in a government-mandated fight to the death.

In most of these examples, the characters do not possess agency until the government forces them into (oft unwilling) action and even then they're pretty much limited to running away; true agency doesn't come about until the character reaches the crucial turning point usually 2/3 into the book.  The exceptions to this are Exodus (as Mara chooses to leave the island in search of more land and, further, convinces others to do so as well) and The Hunger Games (as Katniss volunteers in place of Prim).  Across the Universe sort of fits that bill too since ultimately it's Amy's choice whether or not to accompany her parents on their journey across space as human popsicles.

These protagonists go from living normal lives to a point where time suddenly matters because there's not enough of it.  What little there is goes by in a rush (though Wither sure took it's sweet time doing a whole lot of anguished nothing) as characters hurtle through circumstances beyond their ken, struggling to find themselves and orient their sense of right and wrong in a world that is bent against them.  Hence why, from the outset, these books start off with waiting and looking back: waiting because it is a passive but anticipatory act, and looking back because the shape of the past dictates the shape of the future.

The other great standout among these novels is how many of these first lines deal with self and identity, far beyond that imposed by the first-person narrative format.  Bear with me if I go a little past those immediate first lines to put them in context with the rest of the book.  (9 books, so about 47%.)

In What's Left of Me, the narrator speaks of twin souls born into a single body: her soul and her sister's, together since birth.  The definition of self is (ahem) self-explanatory.

Shadows Cast by Stars immediately states that the narrator lives "the Old Way," implying hearkening back to one's roots over a normative contemporary lifestyle.

Incarnate starts off with the crucial difference between the narrator and the rest of the world, that she is not a reincarnated soul.  Differences, ah!  YA is all about being different, just like YA is all about identity, finding oneself, coming of age, and first experiences.  In the case of first experiences, Ana just takes it to extremes since she's experiencing everything for the first time.

Wither begins with the simple statement "I wait", indicating passivity and immediately bringing to mind impatience and frustration--and setting the themes and tone for the rest of the book as Rhine becomes a prisoner in a golden cage.  I spent a lot of this book waiting for something to happen and not very much ever did.

Legend's narrator identifies himself via his mother, who thinks he's dead when obviously he isn't, bringing up issues of life and death, deceit, and family ties all in one sentence.  Good job, Legend!

Blood Red Road opens with the narrator stating that her brother was born first, thereby framing his importance to the story as well as to herself from the beginning.  Since Saba and Lugh are twins, and by putting him first in the story, this seems to indicate that Saba is subservient to Lugh, a position that will be challenged throughout the book.  Or so I kind of sort of maybe remember, since I didn't like the book that much and my recollection is sketchy.

Divergent brings identity/self to the forefront more symbolically in the form of a mirror: there's only one in the narrator's house.  Tris's current Faction has oppressed her entire life, as a point is made about how infrequently she is allowed to even look at herself in the mirror, the ultimate denial of self as she is denied even her own reflection; the Abnegation Faction has shaped her to be as gray and drab as the clothes it dictates she wear.  At its core, Divergent is about a girl's search for identity and independence as much as it is about building and breaking bonds.

Shatter Me is about time, and isolation, and loneliness.  Juliette has been locked up for nearly a year.  She states it simply and with precise detail--264 days.  This stark, spare statement is at odds with the majority of the prose in the book, which is lush with metaphor and hyperbole; the contrast is deliberately meant to draw attention to itself and to Juliette's fractured sense of self, denying what she is while accepting (and condemning) herself for it.

Matched is all about freedom as Cassia imagines herself flying anywhere she wishes to go--a fancy which she immediately and wistfully dismisses as foolish.  Cassia would say she is not unhappy with her life, but the fact that she imagines the limitless possibilities offered by unrestricted flight right from the first line shows she's not quite so content as she thinks.

Lastly, we have the oddball that didn't fit into any of the categories above: Inside Out.  It features an interesting but unfigurative first line about a vibration rippling through the narrator's body.  It is a descriptive line (action-oriented if you think of the vibration as an action, receptive-oriented if you think of the narrator's body and also passive in that case), and a line that piques interest but doesn't have any symbolism or metaphors going on.  Not that there's anything wrong about starting a book with a non-weighty line!  In fact, it's rather refreshing, particularly after I've dumped all this analysis on everything else.

Ultimately, within the sphere of YA, dystopians tend to focus on authority forcing passive protagonists into defiant action, i.e. the government typically incites rebellion.  Protagonists are driven by the search for identity and the pursuit of freedom and/or justice, on pain of death and on cost of life.  All this boiled down from first lines and a sudden burst of literary analysis.  Thank you, and goodnight.

Have you noticed any first-line trends in particular genres?  Share your favorite opening line!


Boggling Old Writing

Ever had one of those days where you're feeling both brave and masochistic, and so you decide to dive into old folders and unearth old documents filled with old writing that make you feel really old?

That was me.  Only it wasn't day, it was night.  And it didn't exactly make me feel old so much as make me mystified because, well, I had no idea WTF I was thinking or where I was going with any of these.  I'd hoped to maybe uncover some ancient gems and instead unearthed...uh, rocks.  That, even if they were to be polished, still possess a most confounding form and mystery composition.

So!  I thought I'd share with you a few of these rocks.  Maybe you'll have more clue than me as to what I was thinking at the time.

From the aptly titled "eyelash.doc" from (not too long ago) 2010:

It began with an eyelash.  About a centimeter long, black, slightly curved so that it might have been a bow for the tiniest of pixies.

Okay!  That's not too bad.  I kind of like it.  Only that's the entirety of the document: two sentences, no followup, no notes, no outline, nothing, and I don't even remember writing those two lines.

As I scrolled through these ancient files, one titled "draconityvirtue.doc" from 2003 caught my eye.  I clicked thereupon and beheld this text:

            As we stroll, my friend, let us extol on the virtues of draconity.  To be certain, there are times enough and more than enough that we cannot help but be stricken aghast by what we see as no more than base bestial need—yet in their own eyes they are the most prestigious and elegant of creatures.
            Watch your step, my friend!  Do not trip upon that branch—look how it moves obligingly with the wind, claws out to entrap unwary feet.

Ooookay.  Uh.  Clearly I was writing about somebody talking about the, uh, virtues of draconity.  There are at least two people, one lecturing the other, and they're walking around and there's a branch lying on the ground and--yeah, all right, that's about all I get from this piece.  I have the very vague feeling that this was going to be some sort of comeuppance story where the lectured gets his/her comeuppance and the story ends with the lecturer enjoying a HAHA, SUCKER moment, but maybe it was the other way around considering how poncy-sounding the narrator is.

All right.  Those first two samples weren't too boggling even if I don't really remember much about them, how they came about or where they were going.

But then I found this thing from "bara or rose.doc" circa 2000:

"Bara" means "rose" in Japanese, as in the rose flower which blossoms from a thorny plant.  Now then, can you see any resemblance at all in the spelling of the word "rose" and "bara" in romanji?

I...I...well, no, I don't see any resemblance at all.  Why the hell should I?  They're two completely unrelated languages.  What was I thinking when I wrote this?  Obviously 13 years ago it was a big enough thought and good enough idea that it deserved to be written down and saved in its own document.  But that thought and idea shriveled away into nonexistence because I remember nothing, nothing as to where I was going with this except that it was supposed to be some kind of story that involved Japanese and English and roses.  Apparently.

Reading that bara/rose thing bemused me so much that I had to stop wading through my ancient writing folder.  The rest of the documents will keep until I am ready to venture once more unto the breach, dear friends.

Have you ever come across old story snippets where you have no idea what you were thinking? Find a snippet or two of thoroughly boggling writing (ancient or otherwise) and share!  Perhaps you can help me nag bully persuade Krispy to dig out some interesting old tidbits too.


A Pep Talk from Past Me

Sometimes, when we need a little boost or kick in the pants, I think the universe has a way of helping us out. I'm not usually one to get too personal on the blog, but I thought this might be someone's helping hand, a pep talk for anyone going through a rough patch.

March last year was kind of rough for me emotionally. I was going through a funk, getting smacked around by the Quarter Life, and I didn't feel comfortable enough to talk about it. I've never been much of a talker anyway, preferring to keep my angst to myself. So I wrote a letter to my Future Self through futureme.org.

I forgot about this until I received an email in my inbox this past weekend from exactly one year ago. It's a pep talk that I don't quite need this March, but I did need the reminder to focus. I'm posting it here (minus the more personal bits) in case you need a pep talk today.

Happy Wednesday!


Dear FutureMe,

It's 2012, and they say it will be the end of the world. So if you're reading this, it's a good sign that the whole apocalypse thing was bogus.

I hope it's not the end of the world though because there's still so much we want to do, so much we haven't accomplished. You're feeling "old" this year, and a lot is changing in and around your life. I'm not going to lie, you're feeling a little left out, a little like you're being left behind.

You're treading water and hoping for a boat, but I guess what you really need to do is swim.

I'm telling you this because I know us. I know we have a hard time changing, and I know we're not as brave as we'd like to be. 

I hope when you read this, you've learned to be brave; you've learned to swim.

Because it's true what all those cheesy quotes and meaningful platitudes say. You can't wait for some Destiny to come find you. You can't wait for the right time. There's only the Now, and so far you've done the safe thing. You've stuck to the status quo. You've hoped and prayed for an adventure to fall in your lap. You've treaded water.

It's time to start swimming.

I know you have it in you to achieve what you want. You just have to concentrate. You have to focus and work your ass off to make this dream come true. I'm telling you this in case, a year from now, when you read this, you're still sitting in the same place, wondering when it'll be your turn. If you are in the same place, this is your kick in the pants. This is your wake up call.

Stop dreaming and start doing.

I'm rooting for you because this status quo is okay, but frankly it's kind of disappointing. Take some risks and it might make you happy. We have plenty of time, but it's not infinite. Right now, you're feeling disappointed, stagnant, and even a little alone. When you finally see this again, I hope you've begun to turn things around.

I may be your biggest critic, but I'm also your biggest, most faithful fan. I believe in you. So don't let anyone, not even life, get you down.

I'm taking back my opening statement. I do hope 2012 is the end of the world - the end of the world as we know it. Because we're going to shape a new one, the one of our choosing.

Swim towards that distant shore (are you sick of this metaphor yet?). I've got your back.

Much love.


Randomosity on Friday: Friday Five

It's been a while since we've done one of these, and both Alz and I are unable to be any more creative than this.


1. When I asked Alz if she had anything to add to this list, she said, "Uhhhh..." because she was distracted by...

Theo James, star of a new crime drama called Golden Boy.

2. That guy and his handsomeness is probably why my sister and I will continue to watch the new show Golden Boy. I mean, the pilot was pretty interesting too, but he's just REALLY HANDSOME. (Yes, he's the Turkish diplomat from Season 1 of Downton Abbey!)

3. Alz is still trying to finish reading Crewel. In the mean time, she's also MADE a metal book. It's awesome.

4. The Camelia Festival was this past weekend. It is our city's annual festival, complete with carnival and parade. Alz went to get her cotton candy. I went because I was hoping the library would have my copy of Finnikin of the Rock (which I did get yesterday, ha!). I played an expensive carnival game so I could get a stuffed turtle. Turtles are my spirit animal.

5. The Sister has tracked down the special flavored LAYS chips. She got Chicken & Waffles and Cheesy Garlic Bread, but WE WANT THE SRIRACHA CHIPS! They are impossible to find! D:

Q4U: What are your Friday Fives? Or what are you up to this weekend?